Brittany Zenge stands next to the Discovery Center exhibit in the Clausen Museum. Photo/Angela Denning

Brittany Zenge stands next to the Discovery Center exhibit in the Clausen Museum. Photo/Angela Denning

The Clausen Museum in Petersburg gets up to four thousand visitors a year. Now, the little non-profit museum is looking for a new director as this is Brittany Zenge’s last week on the job.

The museum features a small gift shop near the front entrance. Inside, Barbara O’Gwim sifted through stuffed Alaska animals that made sounds.

“I’m shopping for my grandchildren and [I’ll] take these things back to Portland, Oregon,” O’Gwim said.

O’Gwim came to Petersburg to visit her sister and like many other visitors to town the museum is a must-see.

“I go back and look at what they have, pictures and different things, the history of Petersburg I really enjoy,” O’Gwim said.

Taking care of all of the historic items in the museum and how they are displayed is Museum Director, Brittany Zenge.

Zenge has been the museum director for one year. Now she plans to go back to Illinois where she wants to be closer to her family.

“My experience here, I don’t know if I have enough words for it. It’s been wonderful,” Zenge said. “The people here are great. The board has been fantastic. I got to experience the career that I want to be in, in a fun enjoyable atmosphere. The board pretty much gave me free reign within reason to do what I wanted.”

During her year as director, the museum got new carpeting and lighting which was about 15 years old. Then there has been a whole new exhibit installed called the Discovery Center. It is like a huge wooden interactive cabinet in the back room.

Zenge credits the museum’s previous director, Sue McCallum, for having the great ideas. McCallum was the museum director for 16 years. Zenge said she just saw the projects finished.

The museum is home to a variety of traditional Tlingit and Haida artifacts as well as historic items from the town’s Norwegian settlers. There are also many exhibits from Petersburg’s fishing history as well, everything from wooden lures to the world’s largest salmon. And there’s also the lens from the Cape Decision lighthouse in the museum.

The Clausen Museum is a non-profit and tries to make money as it can. The organization sells items at the gift store and relies on a grant from the Petersburg Borough every year.

For O’Gwim, it’s a place she can count on when she comes to visit Petersburg.

“I really like this museum,” O’Gwim said. “Very much so.”

For Zenge, it isn’t just the museum that she’s going to miss about leaving the job. It’s also the town.

“I couldn’t have pictured a better place for myself for the first time out of college,” Zenge said. “Petersburg, I can’t thank you enough. It’s been wonderful.”

The museum director job is full-time with no benefits. The museum’s board has started advertising for it.